Terminal Jive

Creative projects by Abigail Ward

Category: Presenting (page 2 of 2)

OUT! – An introduction to recording oral histories, June 2016

Jumble sale on Canal Street to raise money for those affected by HIV, 1989. Credit: Manchester Pride

Jumble sale on Canal Street 1989 to raise money for those affected by HIV. Credit: Manchester Pride

Image: Never Going Underground, 1988, courtesy of Archives+

Manchester Pride presents:
OUT! – An introduction to recording oral histories
Saturday 18th June 2016

Time: 10am-4pm

Venue:
International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

FREE – book a place

Join Manchester Pride for a day of training on recording interviews and oral histories within the LGBT community. This event is part of OUT! – a Heritage Lottery-funded project exploring hidden LGBT histories in Greater Manchester. Learn how to capture spoken word recollections and preserve them for future generations. This is a free, friendly event and lunch will be provided. All welcome!

OUT! is a project celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender histories across Greater Manchester using digital technologies. It is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and delivered by Manchester Pride.

This event, led by Dr Fiona Cosson (MMU) and Abigail Ward (Manchester District Music Archive), will be a fun and friendly day aimed at equipping LGBT history enthusiasts with the skills required to record and preserve oral histories for future generations.

It will be of particular interest to members of the community who feel they would like to highlight elements of our city’s history, which, due to legislation and social stigma, have remained hidden.

Trainees will learn about best practice in oral history, interview techniques, use of mp3 recorders, basic audio editing and preparing files for submission to the sound archives held by Archives+ at Central Library.

Some recordings will be chosen to feature in the digital exhibition space at Archives+ and will also form part of the OUT! online portal to be launched in June.

We are excited to be hosting the event in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation – a beautiful library, archive and study centre just a few minutes from Oxford Road railway station.

The IABF is wheelchair accessible. If you are interested in attending and would like to discuss your access requirements, please contact: abigail@manchesterpride.com

Booking is via Eventbrite.

Please note: places are limited, so we’d be grateful if you could let us know if you can’t attend.

[DWAN] Archiving Women’s Performance Practice, HOME_Mcr, Jan 2016

Veba with Groove Armada 2008 Australia
Photo: Veba by Diego Denicola

Archives are closely linked with how we understand history and can be a site for resistance and celebration in challenging how history is defined. Abigail Ward and Sarah Feinstein will speak about how this relates to women’s performance through Manchester District Music Archive. Drawing from selection of artefacts in the user-generated collection, Abigail will showcase women’s agency in the history of music, politics and protest in Greater Manchester. Sarah will discuss how a previous online exhibition curated by Abigail led her to a conversation with ground-breaking feminist artist Linder Sterling.

[DWAN] Digital Women’s Archive North is an educational arts and heritage enterprise unlocking the women’s histories in archives – delivering training & skills development; arts & heritage projects; and research. Follow them on Twitter @dwarchivenorth.

More info here.

Connected Communities – Pararchive Conference, University of Leeds, 2015

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Multiple Histories – The Democratisation of Manchester’s Music Heritage

Manchester District Music Archive is a user-led, volunteer-run online archive established in 2003 to celebrate Greater Manchester music and its social history.

Co-founders Alison Surtees and Abigail Ward discuss the development of their groundbreaking project, which allows users to preserve, share and research their own musical heritage through digitised ephemera such as tickets, photos, press articles, posters and video. The talk will chart the rise of MDMArchive; the difficulties encountered; and how these challenges, such as who ‘owns’ heritage and who ‘decides’ what is shown, were overcome through user-generated content. MDMArchive has been at the forefront of developments in community-led digital storytelling for over ten years. This talk will explore why digital environments are important for sharing heritage, destabilising dominant historical narratives and opening up access to archival material for many to enjoy and have ownership of.

The Pararchive project explores open access community storytelling and the digital archive.

The First National LGBT History Festival – Queer Noise presentation, 2015

Photo: Pete Shelley by Kevin Cummins
Photo: Pete Shelley by Kevin Cummins

In late 2009 I acquired a small amount of funding to develop ‘Queer Noise’ – an online exhibition for Manchester District Music Archive that aimed to lift the lid on LGBT music-making and club life in Greater Manchester from the sixties to the present day. The exhibition would harness and contextualise scanned ephemera, such as posters, flyers, photos and press articles uploaded to MDMArchive by members of public all over the world, in addition to my own collection of artefacts, which I had been digitising for a number of years.

Launched in 2010, ‘Queer Noise’ now contains over two hundred chronologically ordered images and written recollections, and continues to grow as more and more people share their memories. A selection of these artefacts will form the basis of my short presentation to the LGBT History Festival in February.

In my talk for  I will be examining three key points in the city’s LGBT music history: the birth of punk in 1976; the house music explosion of the early 90s: and the alt-gay scene which developed a decade later as a response to the homogeneity of the music on offer on Canal Street (Manchester’s gay village).

In the summer of 1976, punk hit Manchester following the Sex Pistols’ pivotal brace of gigs at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Misunderstood by many as an aggressive, negative force, the early punk scene in Manchester celebrated difference; fostered a DIY approach to creativity and self-expression; and created a tightly knit music community, which (for the most part) welcomed LGBT young people. Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks, who co-promoted the Pistols’ second gig, was openly bisexual and sang about romantic experiences with both men and women in a very straightforward way. But ‘76 was also the year in which James Anderton began his tenure as Chief Constable, marking the beginning of a sustained period of harassment of Manchester’s LGBT community by police. Punk historian Jon Savage said of this time, ‘Manchester felt under lock-down then: if you were out late at night, you’d get stopped at least twice a week. It wasn’t just gay people, it was anyone who looked and acted different.’

Fast forward to 1990 and we see the launch of Manto on Canal Street – a sophisticated European-style bar that deliberately flouted the prevailing ‘behind closed doors’ culture of gay venues by installing full height plate glass windows. Thanks to DJ Tim Lennox, house music took hold at Central Street’s gay-friendly Number 1 Club, which in turn led to the birth of Flesh at the Haçienda – a wildly successfully Ecstasy-fuelled house and garage night flagrantly billed as ‘Serious Pleasure for Dykes and Queers’. It was during this time that the city was dubbed ‘Gaychester’, the first Mardi Gras happened, Canal Street boomed and Manchester City Council truly cottoned on to the potential of the pink pound.

Flesh lasted until 1996, spawning many copycat club nights and, along with the Number 1 Club and Paradise Factory, was responsible for the making house music the dominant sound of ‘Gaychester’. But by 1998, some of the same DJs, promoters and club goers that had inspired the house boom were growing tired of the commercialisation of both the scene and the music. At this point, LGBT club nights boasting a more eclectic soundtrack spanning funk, soul, disco, hip hop and indie began to emerge. Club Brenda and Homo Electric were at the forefront of this movement. Like the punk scene that had come before, these clubs celebrated difference, with flyers boasting slogans such as ‘Music is life, gym is the coffin, be ugly‘.

As well as flyers, posters, gig tickets and photos, my presentation will include some unseen footage of Manchester’s gay clubs, plus excerpts of oral histories captured exclusively for the festival.

If you would like to add any artefacts or recollections to the Queer Noise online exhibition, please register to become a member of Manchester District Music Archive here and start sharing your history. Alternatively, you can email: info@mdmarchive.co.uk.

Louder Than Words Festival – Manchester song lyrics panel, 2014

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Photo: Alison Surtees

‘Hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly’ is a panel event exploring the art of song lyricism, Manchester-style. Guest lyricists are Jaheda Choudhury-Potter of Ajah UK, Jonathan Higgs from Everything Everything and Guy Garvey of Elbow.  It will reveal contrasting processes, backgrounds and styles whilst exploring Greater Manchester lyricism across the decades.

Chaired and curated by Abigail Ward.

Louder Than Words Festival – Bigmouth Strikes Again panel, 2013

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Defining Me – Musical Adventures in Manchester exhibition, The Lowry, 2013

Defining Me launch event
Defining Me launch, September 2013 

In 2013, following investment from Heritage Lottery Fund, Manchester District Music Archive  launched ‘Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester’, a 5-month show at The Lowry co-curated by members of MDMarchive’s online community. The exhibition attracted 32,000 visitors. Speaking at the launch were Abigail Ward (MDMarchive), Ivan Riches (HLF) and Michael Simpson (The Lowry).

There were a number of spin-off events featuring Greater Manchester music luminaries in conversation, including Barry Adamson (Magazine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds); photographer Kevin Cummins; Manchester punk icons Denise Shaw and Dawn Bradbury; artist and promoter Barney Doodlebug; and Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon.

In 2014 the project ended with a community concert at Band on the Wall featuring rave pioneer Graham Massey in collaboration with The Prospectors,  a collective of disabled musicians from Stockport.

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Exhibition_CREDIT _Matthew_Norman

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Image of Defining Me exhibition: Sun Ra poster owned by Graham Massey
Photos: Leah Connolly
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